Over the span of 6 years, ISL has brought up many unnoticed young faces to limelight in Indian Football. All of which began, with the presentation of the EMERGING PLAYER OF THE SEASON Award to the best young player, at the end of the season.
With one new player emerging each year, we have a total of 6 players who had been handed over the award, till date. But where are those players now? Are they all still at their very best? Or may be off limelight lately?
Let’s have a quick look at these young Emerging Players, who came up over the last 6 years, and where they stand in their careers right now.
Sandesh Jhingan , a 26 year old is an Indian professional footballer who plays as centre back for Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters and the Indian National Football Team. Known for his physical strength, aerial ability and willingness to put the body on the line , he is considered to be one of the best defenders in Indian football. Jhingan is the most capped player for Kerala Blasters and has captained India on several occasions.
Since the start of his football career, Sandesh helped win numerous trophies including B. C. Roy Trophy at U19 level for Chandigarh, I-league 2 nd division winner United Sikkim in 2012 and runner up of 2014 and 2016 Indian Super League for Kerala Blasters. His individual mentions include ISL Emerging Player of the Season back in 2014 which was the first season of the Indian Super League and AIFF Emerging Player of the year.
The 29 year old, Jeje Lalpekhlua all the way from Mizoram is an Indian Professional footballer who is a player for Chennaiyin FC and also for Indian National Football Team. He is the second highest Indian goalscorer in the Indian Super League since it’s inception and holds record for the highest goalscorer for Chennaiyin FC. In 2015 he won I-league with Mohun Bagan and Indian Super League with Chennaiyin FC and was subsequently named the FPAI Football Player of the Year. He had played for various clubs like Pune FC, Palian Arrows(now Indian Arrows), Dempo, Mohun Bagan, etc before he played in Chennaiyin FC.
He won many trophies like Saff Cup(2009, 2011 and 2015) , I-league for Mohun Bagan side in 2014-15 season and Federation Cup for the same club in 2015-16 season, Indian Super League in 2015 and 2017-18 season for Chennaiyin FC. Individual awards includes FPAI Best Young Player Award(2010-11), AIFF Emerging Player of the Year 2013 , Indian Super League Emerging Player of the Season in 2015, Federation Cup Top Goalscorer and Best Player(2015-16) , FPAI Indian Player of the year (2015-16) and AIFF Player of the Year(2016)
Born in 1998 in Mizoram, Jerry is an Indian Professional footballer who plays as left back for Chennaiyin FC and India National Team. He started playing football when he was only 5. His parents didn’t allow to play football and was even caught by his father when he trials behind their back. He was a part of AIFF Elite Academy and an important player for Bethlehem Vengthlang in Mizoram Premier League.
He was one of the 5 young footballers to be sponsored on their training stint with Metz in France.
He played for club like Dsk Shivajians in I-league. His honours include the Champion of the 2017-18 season of Indian Super League and Indian Super League Emerging player of the Season in 2016 and Best Emerging player of Hero I-league in 2016-17.
4 . Lalruatthara
Coming all the way from Mizoram, Lalruatthara is an Indian Professional footballer who plays as left back for Kerala Blasters in Indian Super League and the Indian National Football Team.
He played for various clubs like Luangmual FC and Chanmari FC, a Mizoram based club and Aizawl FC in MPL and I-league before he step into the Indian Super League. He was also a part of Mizoram Santosh Trophy team in 2013-14 season and was the youngest player at just 19 years old.He won many trophies with his club which includes Mizoram Premier League trophy for Chanmari FC and Aizawl FC, Santosh Trophy 2013-14 for Mizoram team and I-league champion team of Aizawl FC in 2016-17 season. His debut performance earns him ISL Emerging Player of the Season in 2017-18 season and Dalmia Cements Young Achievers Award.
5 . Sahal Abdul Samad
The 23 year old Sahal is an Indian Professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Kerala Blasters in Indian Super League and the Indian National Team. He started his career with KBFC’s reserve team in 2017-18 season and was soon promoted to the senior team and played two matches. He also played an important role in India U23 team.
His amazing performance in the 2018-19 season of Indian super league earned him ISL Emerging Player of the Season and also the AIFF Emerging Player of the Year. Due to the same reason he was retained till 2022.
The 19 year old boy from Uttar Pradesh plays for ATK in the Indian Super League and also for the India National U20 football team.
He started his career at AIFF Elite Academy, later joining Indian Arrows in 2017-18 season. He was signed by ATK reserves team for 2018-19 and played 10 matches.
For the 2019-20 season of ISL, he was called up to the senior team. After making 14 appearances in his breakthrough season and impressing throughout, as well as helping ATK won their 3 rd ISL trophy, he bagged the ISL Emerging Player of the Season
We hope to see these amazing players more in the Indian football.